Traditionally, the real estate sector has been considered to be a male-dominated industry, and this perception, while far from reality, is still persistent around the world. However, things are different in the UAE, where women are increasingly playing a crucial role in every aspect of the real estate industry.
At DAMAC, more than 30% of our current work force is female — a statistic we are immensely proud of and that is steadily increasing. In fact, we are seeing more and more women viewing real estate as a viable employment option, which is ideal for an industry that is growing rapidly. We genuinely believe that a gender-balanced workplace strengthens team dynamics, improves productivity, and promotes a culture of innovation. The rise of female participation in the UAE’s real estate sector, among other industries, reflects the country’s undivided focus on inclusive growth, and recognises the contribution of women towards the national economy.
Women prospering in the UAE
As per the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report for 2020, the UAE has ranked first in the Arab world, which is a remarkable achievement. Today, women contribute nearly 44% to the UAE’s economy and have made a notable impact across industries. The country has made tremendous progress in terms of women occupying key roles such as legislators, senior officials, and managers in both the public and private sectors. With more than 66% of graduates from the UAE’s public universities being women, we have an extremely high female literacy rate of 95.8%. This is nearly 20 per cent higher than the global female literacy rate, which according to the Oxford Internet Institute is 77%.
Adding that to the newly announced decree for equal pay, the UAE is working hard to level the playing field for women to participate in the growth and prosperity of the nation. The recognition of women as key contributors to the real estate sector as buyers, investors, employees, and leaders is an important aspect that will contribute to the sector’s sustainable growth.
Why women are thriving in real estate sector
On the supply side, women are transforming the real estate industry as professionals, agents and leaders. Today, businesses across sectors recognise the advantages of employing a more gender-balanced workforce. I see this as especially true in the real estate industry as women bring a unique set of skills that make them especially fit for this profession. Inherent attributes such as active networking skills, the ability to quickly gain local expertise, multi-tasking and strong negotiation skills make women ideal for leadership roles in the real estate industry. Their innate persistence and empathy also make them good at managing professional relationships.
Women increasingly becoming decision-makers
On the demand side, women have always been a primary influencer when it comes to home-buying decisions. Today, with more women entering the workforce and seeking financial independence, they are transforming from primary influencers to primary decision-makers. Therefore, for a real estate developer, it is imperative to create products that work for women buyers, offer payment plans that suit their needs, and market in a way that appeals to them. Having a gender-balanced workforce and encouraging female participation across all functions of real estate enables developers to have a broader perspective and a better understanding of the needs and aspirations of their female customer base.
Women in workforce: Good for business and innovation
Gender diversity, while often seen as merely the ‘right’ thing to do, should be looked at from a business point of view. Hiring more women in different positions is not just about protecting their rights or providing equal opportunity; it is also great for business. Economists are repeatedly saying that gender parity leads to larger returns in financial markets. Apart from this, having equal participation of men and women in an organisation brings about innovative thinking, diverse viewpoints and creative problem solving, aspects that are critical for long-term success.